Medium distance, where's the in-between sparks?
August 12, 2010 6:17 PM   Subscribe

New medium-distance relationship - sparks fly when together,radio silence in between - where do I go from here if at all?

Another one of these pesky early dating stages questions - I guess I need some support and maybe a reality check to stop feeling intermittently like I'm a heroine in a book entitled "She's just not that into you".

We met online (two dykes, if that matters). She initiated the contact, I wouldn't have as I was only looking within twenty miles of my postcode, she lives in a city about 90 minutes away on the train. I did make the train journey after a couple of weeks of chatting online and sparks were indeed flying. That was two months ago - we sort of started dating (as in I go over to her place every one or two weeks) and it's great when I'm there, I get all this lovely positive energy from being with her, it's fun, intense and exciting and there's sexy times involved as well.

But when I leave, all that energy dissipates - she doesn't really contact me much, doesn't really offer much affection or anything at all. I did explicitly tell her I need some interaction in between, but her response was mostly to say that I have no business being insecure at my age (I am 13 years younger). So I don't really feel like bringing it up again - but I do wonder if perhaps I should just chill and enjoy the fun time we have together. But I do find it difficult to cope with the silence in between. So, what do I do? Bring it up again? Enjoy whatever casual stuff happens between us, shut up about wanting the little stuff in between (I don't know, regular communication and such like) and just chill? Or yet another option I haven't considered?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
If you can just chill and enjoy the fun I guess do that ... but if you want this to go somewhere and already your pretty reasonable needs are met with disregard I'd say this might be one to be wary of.

Usually our instincts are right.. (the ones we ignore because it's not the answer we really want). If you're feeling like that character then I'd say walk.

I wish I had done that when I wondered if I should...

Either way, good luck to you!!
posted by Weaslegirl at 6:31 PM on August 12, 2010

On the one hand: some people are just terrible at communicating not-in-person, they need that in-person energy, and this in and of itself isn't necessarily the end of the world, if there are enough other good things in the relationship. I have personal experience with this, and it never becomes a non-issue, but you do learn to work around it.

On the other hand: if you need that kind of contact in order to be happy, maybe this isn't your girl, and the distance doesn't show any signs of lessening in the near future, it's okay for you to admit that to yourself.

On the gripping hand: it might be early in the relationship to start thinking about dealbreakers, and if it's all good when you're in person, maybe wait it out a bit and see how it goes. I would wait and see if I were in your shoes, going by how you've described this. Good luck
posted by biscotti at 6:35 PM on August 12, 2010

i would normally advise "just relax" and to enjoy your together times. some people are just bad with distance.

i would keep your eye on stuff like this, though: I did explicitly tell her I need some interaction in between, but her response was mostly to say that I have no business being insecure at my age (I am 13 years younger).

i get those little warning alarm bells when i hear of a couple with a difference like age (or money or citizenship or cultural) - a difference where power dynamics might be already skewed - and when an issue is brought up by the generally less powerful person in the relationship and the person with more power dismisses it based on the already existing inequality. so for you to say "this is something i feel i need in a relationship" and for her to respond, basically, with "stop being such a baby"...

so my overall advice is, see if you can relax but also pay attention to how she handles your age difference and whether or not she keeps bringing it up to diffuse your anger/frustration/concern.
posted by nadawi at 6:37 PM on August 12, 2010 [10 favorites]

I have no business being insecure at my age
I know I don't have the context around this statement, but this comes across as totally dismissive. You're communicating what you need given the inherent tensions of any distance relationship, and you get the brush-off? Sounds like the other party is communicating what they want in the relationship, too.

As to what to do - you've tried your best and you can't make them change, so you either have to be satisfied with what they're willing to offer or get out. Anything else would be manipulation.
posted by Paragon at 6:38 PM on August 12, 2010

If you think you're up for something casual, then by all means, go ahead and enjoy it. But it doesn't sound like you are, since you said it's difficult for you to cope with the silence.

So, maybe you'd like to be in a more serious relationship with her. I say don't do that. Here's why: you made a reasonable, honest, and very mature statement of your needs/expectations, and she essentially responded by telling you to grow up. This shut you down, and made it so you don't want to bring up this issue again, or make a similar statement in the future. Somebody who does this to you is not relationship material.
posted by Ragged Richard at 6:43 PM on August 12, 2010

Why exactly are you the only one doing the traveling? That seems like it could be another red flag.

I don't think you're unreasonable to want some communication in between weekends, but she's reasonable to not want to do that, too. Only you can decide if it's a deal breaker, but I'd consider bringing it up when you're together in a non-confrontational way. Maybe she has a good reason for it or maybe you can work out a compromise (IM chats, but no phone or something).
posted by parkerjackson at 6:49 PM on August 12, 2010

Honestly, if she doesn't care about communication between weekends, it sounds like she's regarding this more like a FWB/booty call. I don't see non-communication as "insecurity and you're too young" so much as shoot, aren't you just getting to know each other, and you need to do that over communication channels more since you have limited ability to do it in person. It seems reasonable to want to talk to her at least a bit in between visits.

I sort of wonder at her motivation for deliberately seeking someone out who lives 90 minutes away. Maybe she doesn't want the commitment.
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:59 PM on August 12, 2010 [3 favorites]

I don't think it's a big deal, and wouldn't make much of it. I was in a long-distance relationship for two and a half years (we've been dating for a total of five years, the long-distance thing was sort of in-between) and felt pretty much the same way: other than the occasional sweet email (I'd email photos and send hand-drawn postcards), our communication was, ahem, lacking at best while we were a continent apart. Lots of fun was had on both sides whenever we'd get together. The most important things for me were (a) knowing exactly when and where we'd see each other and (b) having a concrete date on which we'd be living in the same city. It worked out pretty well in my case - we're getting married next summer.
I've also been in a relationship that was pretty much the opposite: I'd miss him terribly and idealize him when he was out of town, lots of phone calls and flower deliveries, etc. but spending time together was a let-down every time. Guess which one is preferable.
posted by halogen at 7:13 PM on August 12, 2010 [1 favorite]

Your need for interaction = you're insecure? Hmmm.

Of course you don't want to bring it up again. That's what comments like that are designed to do.

Be very careful with people who use your needs as ammunition to insult you.

Not saying ditch her just yet. Just beware if this kind of thing becomes a pattern.
posted by space_cookie at 8:29 PM on August 12, 2010 [2 favorites]

No one else is willing to say it, but I will. Dump her.

Your needs are not being met.
You're the one traveling.
She's dismissive of your communicating your needs.
She's insulting you.

Find someone nearby who isn't afraid to act like an adult, communicate and pull her weight.
posted by FlamingBore at 1:06 AM on August 13, 2010 [1 favorite]

Some people need a lot of verbal communication in relationships. Some people do not. People who are less verbal do not find while-you-are-apart communication to be as important.

So in May, I met this guy, and sparks flew when we were together. I thought he was terribly awesome. He was strange and fanciful and creative and dapper. He fancied me as well. We had several adventures. We went to bad neighborhoods and nearly jumped in the river. I thought I wanted something longer term with him. But as time progressed, our relationship never did, because he was terrible at communicating not-in-person. He either did not reply to emails or replied too late. He never initiated. We both hated the phone, so we did not use it. By the end, our not-in-person communication was solely via text. TEXT! It was ridiculous. A few weeks in, I had told him that I required more communication, but it never happened, so I called it off. We are still facebook friends and on good terms. I do not think he is a bad person. I do not think your lady is a bad person. I do think that people just have different communication preferences and it is important that they match up. I like a lot of it. My exboyfriend and I used to exchange, literally, 80 emails a day sometimes (they were short). For me, bad not-in-person communication meant I could not proceed. You have to determine if it means that for you.
posted by millipede at 6:14 AM on August 13, 2010 [1 favorite]

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